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The "Hidden" Link between our Needs and the Basics of Practice

Intention has the power to transform any basic process into a highly sophisticated and advanced practice.

The "Hidden" Link between our Needs and the Basics of Practice

Intention has the power to transform any basic process into a highly sophisticated and advanced practice.

When I first thought of writing about “Basics” - as a foundation for everything we do, I realized that there is a hidden link between our NEEDS and the BASICS of our skills, a link continuously driving all of our activities. In a way, for us as modern humans, the range of needs has expanded beyond the 4, 6, or 9 fundamental human needs (depending on what system we use for reference). My preference leans towards Max-Neef, who postulates that “basic needs are finite, few and classifiable” and I especially regard one aspect of his view as being most powerful - that through our selection of satisfiers, we can fulfill more than one need at once.

In other words, through our choices, we have the power and ability to fulfill more than a single need through one specific process or action.

This is particularly relevant to how we purpose our practice of martial arts and in fact how we assign purpose to anything we choose to do.

In my case, I took a rather liberal interpretation of “needs” and realized that we can have multiple needs at the same time, AND, that our needs may very well change from day to day and even from mood to mood. To make things more interesting, we experience these needs with various degrees of intensity, which in turn dramatically affect our state of mind and in general our state of well-being.

One day, for instance, I may feel the need for solitude with a good book, or a silent walk in the woods. Another day, I may need companionship and an intelligent conversation. Then on a different day I may feel the need to dance, or workout, or “burn out” mental static. 

Applying this to Martial Arts or Dance becomes a matter of “how” we move, “how” we practice, and even “whom” we train with. 

For me, Martial Arts can offer a moment of introspection through movement, or a physical, mental, and emotional connection with a friendly partner. It can also offer a solid workout to burn calories and stress away, or, it can offer positive stimulation through new learning. Everything matters and can impact the outcome of any action, and - as practice and training goes - we can directly influence that outcome by initiating our actions from a specific and selected mental, emotional, or physical point of origin.

This is the hidden link between our needs - whichever they may be at any given time - and the basics, the fundamentals of any practice we immerse ourselves in. Therefore, it is truly important to always know “why” we do what we do, to always be in touch with our needs that govern and dictate the choices we make through our actions - and, from that knowing of the why we can initiate and create actions that lead to various paths and journeys through life.

Intention has the power to transform any basic process into a highly sophisticated and advanced practice.

For example, performing a Kata in Martial Arts, or a Dance solo in Ballet, may yield different benefits depending on the intention that originates the actions.

One person may intend to simply “mark” the form or steps. This yields spatial awareness benefits, memorization processes, and can be used as a way to focus and center in the moment. Another person may use the performance of a form to explore the quality of movement and to fine-tune muscle memory and coordination. The same form can also be used to express emotions, release tension, develop power, and more.

In this way, a simple plié in Ballet can transform into a meditation, and a basic footwork technique in Martial Arts can transform into a powerful expansion of one’s awareness through space.

When we understand and control our intentions, we can bridge the gap between our needs and the basics of virtually any practice to be converted and employed in the service of fulfilling those needs.

When we truly converge the clarity and continuity of our intention throughout our practice, we find ourselves at the very core of our inner power - an inner space of creativity and joy of life. This is crucial and fundamental to our well-being because fulfilling a need triggers a sense of satisfaction, safety, and therefore pleasure while we are actively engaged in satisfying that need and especially once that need is met.

Thus, this evolutionary dance between Dopamine, Endorphins, and Serotonin continues, while we place ourselves to a greater extent in the “driving seat” of navigating happiness.

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May the river of your life flow gently and strongly under the splendor of many Sunrises and Sunsets, and for many years to come.

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